Peterson: There’s not much Iowa State utility man Trever Ryen can’t do on a football field

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The wide receiver was recognized Monday as the Big 12 Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week.
Randy Peterson / The Regsiter

AMES, Ia. – For a young man who’s really not a big risk-taker …

Trever Ryen’s game is all about gambling.

For a guy who says he’s not a daredevil …

Ryen puts his body in danger each time he hovers under one of those high, spiraling punts.

Bungee jump?

“I’m afraid of heights,” he once told me.

But put body in jeopardy with 10 head-hunting opponents sprinting his way a few times each Saturday?

This most versatile Iowa State senior wouldn’t have it any other way.

He’s returned two punts for touchdowns during his career — the most recent was a 68-yard catch and sprint during last Saturday’s 45-0 win against Kansas at Jack Trice Stadium.

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That’s just part of the reason this flash from Ida Grove was named Big 12’s most recent special teams player of the week.

He also recovered a fumble, continues to be one of the best players on Iowa State’s pun-coverage team — and maybe he’ll even do something else special during Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Texas Tech.

He’s already caught 21 passes during the Cyclones’ 4-2 season. 

“If you broke down all of our spring practices … one thing we average out is who had the most explosive plays,” coach Matt Campbell said.

The answer?

Trever Ryen.

“You look at the same thing in fall camp,” Campbell continued.

Answer?

Trever Ryen.

“And then you start the season, and you say “Man who is kind of the unsung hero?” the coach went on.

Answer?

“A lot of other people get a lot of accolades … but Trever, for whatever reason, goes unnoticed a little bit.”

That was Campbell, too, and he’d have said it even if Ryen hadn’t had such a great day Saturday.

“He’s the same guy every day, from play to play,” Campbell said. “That’s what you love about him. He’s been a great example for all of us. I think we can continue to find ways to get the ball into his hands.”

Ryen’s previous punt return touchdown was two seasons ago against Northern Iowa. It started by breaking the team’s Don’t-Ever-Return-a-Bouncing-Punt mandate.

“I knew the rules, but they obviously weren’t going through my head when I fielded it,” Ryen said of the beginning of his 81-yard sprint.

What are Campbell’s rules?

“Trever done it for so long, that you give him a lot of freedom in the open field on whether to return it or not to return it,” Campbell said.

That’s the coach perspective of one of the Big 12’s best do-it-all-perfomers. What about the player?

“I’m more relaxed,” Ryen said.

He watches film of NFL receivers and special teams players. He brainstorms with Taylor Mouser, the program’s assistant director of scouting

“Talking with him has helped me stay calm,” Ryen said. “He’s made me feel comfortable in every situation I’ve been in.”

Ryen turns short passes into long plays. He’s caught every pass thrown his way.

“The drops stay in the back of your mind,” Ryen, unsolicited, recalled Saturday about last season’s big drop in a five-point loss against Kansas State.

“I dropped a wide-open touchdown,” Ryen said. “I have the video of it on my phone. I go back to look at it every once in a while — to remind myself.”

Say what?

“I didn’t know that. That’s neat,” said Karen Ryen, Trever’s very proud mother.

She sat in the Jack Trice Stadium rain Saturday, along with thousands of other Iowa State loyalists. These days, she doesn’t chew her fingernails as much when opponents punt.

“I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be,” she said. “He’s got a little more — what’s the word I’m looking for?

“He’s got a little more fat to him. He’s at a good weight. He can take a hit.”

She knew quickly Saturday how Kansas’ first punt would turn out after watching De’Monte Ruth’s jarring blindside block allowed the speedy Ryan to turn the corner.

“As soon as I saw that block,” she said, “I knew Trever was gone.”

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at rpeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter at @RandyPete.

Source: Des Moines Register

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